Sybil Bruncheon's "Christmases Past".... Hiram Chewsnowsky's Therapy.

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......it had come to the attention of the faculty at Princeton University's "Carrington Institute of Advanced and Applicable Philosophy" that their dean, Hiram Chewsnowsky was having an existential crisis. Although widely respected and published many times over, nothing seemed to please or excite him anymore. His travels to every corner of the globe to study other societies and religions meant little or nothing to him. He returned from sabbaticals drunk, drugged, or with strange fashion choices, and sometimes with lipstick way outside his lip line, and on one occasion even a false eyelash glued on as a mustache while he sang "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles!".... in his reedy tenor.

Rather than discharge him, or hospitalize him, his colleagues decided to help him in a way that might not alert him to his predicament. They conspired with the Macy's Department store people to claim that the Institute was required by state law "to volunteer for community service" for their continued funding. Although the Carrington Institute, and indeed all of Princeton University, was know to be richly endowed, Chewsnowsky (though morose!) fell for the ruse. It was suggested that he might make a nice Santa Clause during the 6 weeks before Christmas. He was surprised at the suggestion, and told his friends so... "How kenn I bee aun effek-teev Sahnta to ahll doze sveet ceeldren? I am feeled weeth sooch ahngst und selp-dout about dee meening ob life eetself! Weel I nott stain dere yung minds, und eben con-tahmeeniate dere sveet nahtures?"... his fellow professors assured him that No! He would make an interesting and perhaps even inspirational Santa!....

And so it was, that on Friday, November 30th of that year, Professor Hiram Chewsnowsky became Macy's Santa Claus sitting on his great throne in his "North Pole Workshop" on the 6th floor. What the staff and faculty of Princeton had NOT told Hiram was that his first child was Master Randolph Tovar, child prodigy, holder of several degrees in anthropology, ethics, a Ph.D. from Yale in Constructive Philosophy, and the author of the internationally lauded "Advanced Optimistic Thought And Practice In The Geopolitical Playground of The 20th Century". Princeton had secretly hired 6-year-old Randolph to "sit on Santa's lap", and over the space of two hours, to discuss with him the "meaning of life". It worked!!!!... 

The faraway look in Chewsnosky's eyes faded, he began to chuckle, to even twinkle, to reveal stories from his troubled childhood, his worries about faculty politics, a fracas in the publishing world, his missing teddy bear, an allergy to lime jello and other foods beginning with the letter "L". By the end of the two hours, the two geniuses had become friends and made plans to lunch together every Friday at the faculty club.... either at Princeton or at the Acacius Page School for Mostly Exceptional Young Persons. ..... it was noted though that other children who had been waiting two hours to meet "Santa" were finally shooed away with some candy that had lint on it...

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